Mongolia has lots of wind, and wind turbines like the ones above can generate a lot of electricity in many areas. However, there are three big problems with wind energy in Mongolia.
- Wind is most powerful when you can get way up into the mountains and ridges. This also means that you may be far from places where people live. You have to somehow connect the turbines to the main power grid. Remember that? It is the network of wires and stations that deliver power to buildings. The further from the power users that you get, the more power you lose just by transmitting it over a large distance.
- Wind blows most strongly at night because the air higher above the earth cools while the earth itself (and the air just above it) is still warmer from the day. Remember how hot air rises? That leads to wind. When do people use electricity? Mostly during the day. We don’t have great ways of storing wind energy to make it available when people need it.
- On some days in some areas, there is no wind. That means you need some energy source that can replace wind energy when it isn’t available.
Still, Mongolia is working on developing more “wind farms”: collections of large numbers of wind turbines to generate power. If they can solve some of the problems with wind energy and improve their electric grid to carry that energy to Ulaanbaatar and smaller cities, they could supply all of their own energy with clean and renewable power.